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Judiciary mum whether Coroner’s findings are missing
Published on: Monday, November 27, 2023
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Judiciary mum whether Coroner’s findings are missing
The court docket, which allegedly has gone missing, contains the testimonies of all the witnesses who were summoned to testify by the DPP, as well as the Coroner’s findings.
Kota Kinabalu: Former Sabah Law Society President Datuk Roger Chin assured that SLS will continue to pursue the missing Coroner’s Inquiry reports into the Double Six tragedy.

“I have written officially to the Registrar to explain what has happened to the docket containing the notes of proceedings of the coroner’s inquiry as well as the findings,” he said, Sunday.

Daily Express decided to seek the help of SLS on the matter earlier, when its efforts to do so proved futile.

One of the things Daily Express tried to establish was whether the Coroner’s report had the testimony of Airport Controller Albert Oh, especially what was exchanged and who he was communicating with when the Nomad aircraft went down in Sembulan on June 6, 1976.

Chin

There were two people in the cockpit at the time, namely Captain Gandhi Nathan and Johari Stephens, a son of Fuad, who had been taking flying lessons. The assigned co-pilot Kevin Sario gave up his seat to Johari.

Kevin declined Daily Express attempts to be interviewed on whose instructions he gave up the co-pilot seat to Johari. Similarly, Albert also declined to be interviewed, saying his memory was failing and that everything that was needed to know was in the Coroner’s report.  

The official casualty list makes no specific mention whether Johari was the co-pilot that day, except only that he was among the victims.

It gave rise to speculation as to whether Gandhi, being a close family friend, may have allowed Johari to assist him in some way during the journey or at the time of the crash. 

Which would have been a case of professional negligence, besides allowing the plane to be overloaded.

An experienced Nomad pilot, Captain Jaweed, held that only a rated co-pilot would have been in a position to help Gandhi at the crucial moment.

And that being a VVIP flight, any person occupying the copilot seat would have to be a rated co-pilot, although the Nomad can be handled by a single pilot.

This is not the only document that could provide significant clues as to what really happened that has gone missing.

The other is the log book at the Labuan airport before the plane took off on the ill-fated journey.

Roger, who was the President, wrote to the Court Registrar on March 3, 2023, requesting for copies of the same after making the necessary payments and again inquired later as to the delay. 

He said in the last correspondence via watsapp, the response from a judiciary staff was “belum jumpa itu file (haven’t come across the file)”. However, a source told Daily Express on condition of anonymity that the entire docket seems to have gone missing. 

Both the Malaysian and Australian governments released their respective findings into the tragedy which claimed the lives of 11 people, including State Government leaders, just before the Double Six anniversary this year.

It followed a Daily Express investigative report into the tragedy 47 years ago, which won the Malaysian Investigative Journalism award for Chief Editor James Sarda and Senior Reporter Sherell Jeffrey.

However, many quarters were dissatisfied with the findings, saying they provided no justification for the reports to have been classified as “Official Secret” by both governments all this while.

Those who were killed included newly-elected Chief Minister Tun Fuad Stephens and four members of his newly-victorious Berjaya Cabinet.

The report attributed the tragedy to overloading and pilot error. 

Tan Sri Harris Salleh who succeeded as CM said the disclosure cleared him of all suspicion of having anything to do with the crash. 

He credited the Daily Express series for precipitating its eventual declassification.

The Coroners Inquiry presided by Datuk Ansari Abdullah at the time as a young magistrate, found several inconsistencies in the accounts of the witnesses. 

The court docket, which allegedly has gone missing, contains the testimonies of all the witnesses who were summoned to testify by the DPP, as well as the Coroner’s findings.

The Coroner’s inquiry was held from April 18 until May 17, 1979 or three years after the tragedy occurred as everyone that the judiciary approached to head it turned it down, saying it was a “hot potato”.

If the docket had really gone missing, it raises grave doubts on other official legal documents stored at the premises in Keningau at great tax payer’s cost. 

Meanwhile, Roger is confident that SLS would continue to thrive under Mohamed Nazim Maduarin who was elected uncontested for the 2023-25 term on Saturday.

Ryan Soo is Vice President. 

Roger, who chose to step down, said the Sabah Bar is replete with outstanding individuals and there would always be better leaders to lead SLS when given the opportunity. 

“I wish my successor and the entire SLS community continued success and prosperity.

“As I step down, I am reminded that a good leader must recognise when it is time to exit and must do so gracefully. 

“When I take a look at the things listed on my election manifesto, I find that I have ticked off most of them.

“Even if I did not, four years is more than enough time for one to achieve what one wants to and if it has not been done, then the proper thing do to is to step aside and allow others to try,” he said. 

He added that SLS is maturing and is now an institution that is intricately woven into the fabric of society. 

“SLS is no longer merely a group of legal professionals, we are a trusted voice, a source of wisdom and direction, and a channel for justice. 

“This trust comes with a profound responsibility – the duty to speak out without bias or fear. Our role is deeply intertwined with the concept of the rule of law, the foundation upon which the pillars of a just society are built,” he said. 

Roger stressed that the SLS must remain steadfast in its commitment to upholding its principles as it strengthens the base of justice for Sabahans. 

“As I reflect on these years, I sincerely hope that my efforts have contributed to leaving the SLS a little bit better than when I took over the presidency.

For the record, Roger still holds an office bearer position as SLS Exco.

 

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Keywords:
Double Six





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